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Rare Call By Cargoship Docking Along Dublin’s Liffey City Centre Quays

21st July 2017

#RareQuayCall - A rare sight of a commercial ship took place this week along Dublin Port’s inner Liffey quays with the arrival of an Arklow Shipping cargoship, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Arklow Resolve of almost 5000dwat had sailed from Belfast to Dublin last Saturday to initially dock downriver in Alexandra Basin west. This is where cargo operations took place, however on Monday she shifted berths much closer to the city-centre.

Afloat had monitored the rather unusual quay allocation of the 2,999 gross tonnage cargoship to that of Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

At this south quay and its north bank counterpart of the North Wall, this area is the older former working port that in recent decades has been utterly transformed. The area dubbed the ‘Docklands’ quarter is where warehouses have been demolished. This to cater for finance houses and apartments that occupy commanding waterfront sites such as the new Central Bank of Ireland headquarters. 

The district stretchs from the IFSC and lines the Liffey downriver to the Tom Clarke (East-Link) Lift- Bridge. The bridge was raised to allow Arklow Resolve to head upriver to the city-centre quay, though the structure's span does restrict vessel size. 

The last routine cargo based operation from these Liffey quays took place in the form of the Guinness stout tankers, The Lady Patricia and Miranda Guinness until this trade ceased in 1992.

The practice of pumping the famous ‘black stuff’ on board was replaced by road tankers taking the ferry to the UK, from where the stout ships previously used to ply to Runcorn on the Manchester Ship Canal. Before that the tanker vessels navigated even further inland to Salford, a suburb of the English north-west city.

Arklow Resolve’s rare location in the Dublin Port required a special visit to this stretch of the Liffey quay at berth 8. On arrival, crew were observed on the former Irish flagged vessel attending to maintenance duties on the cargo deck.

The 89m overall long cargoship has hatch-covers again painted the same customary ‘Arklow’ green colour of the hull that makes up the livery of their mixed Irish and Dutch flags ships. As such these ships tend to stand out more in port or when underway.

The 2004 Dutch built cargoship is registered in Rotterdam, where some of her ‘R’ class sisters are managed by the Irish shipowners Dutch division Arklow Shipping Nederland B.V. When launched the cargoship had her Co. Wicklow owners homeport of Arklow as the port of registry.

Of the 50 plus fleet, Arklow Resolve belongs to the oldest ‘R’class cargoships which were built by Barkmeijer Stroobos. An elder sister Arklow Rose dating to 2002 as reported by Afloat in September 2016, had been sold to UK owners, Charles M. Willie & Co (Shipping) Ltd of Cardiff, Wales. The single box hold cargoship renamed Celtic Venture has options for up to 9 position separations.

The sight of the distinctive ‘Arklow’ green hull on this current ship occasion recalled memories of boarding an older fleetmate no longer in service, that been the Inishark. The boarding took place in the early 1990’s when this cargoship also berthed on Rogerson's Quay and to the nearby Hammond Lane scrap metal site. The merchants premises are now located downriver in Ringsend.

As for the ship, Inishark was then operated by another Arklow Shipping division Coastal Shipping, however she originally began her Arklow career named Darell. Again the Dutch connections continue as this 1981 built vessel had been built too in the Netherlands albeit at a different yard for ASL. She had a post 1998 gross tonnage of 2,009.

In recent years ASL have splashed out on a spending spree by ordering several new cargoships designs from yards in the Netherlands. This rapid newbuilding programme will invariably see older generation cargships replaced, notably more of the ‘R’ class disposed from the fleet. 

Published in Dublin Port
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Dublin Port Information

Dublin Port Company is currently investing about €277 million on its Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR), which is due to be complete by 2021. The redevelopment will improve the port's capacity for large ships by deepening and lengthening 3km of its 7km of berths. The ABR is part of a €1bn capital programme up to 2028, which will also include initial work on the Dublin Port’s MP2 Project - a major capital development project proposal for works within the existing port lands in the northeastern part of the port.

Dublin Port has also recently secured planning approval for the development of the next phase of its inland port near Dublin Airport. The latest stage of the inland port will include a site with capacity to store more than 2,000 shipping containers and infrastructure such as an ESB substation, an office building and gantry crane.

Dublin Port Company recently submitted a planning application for a €320 million project that aims to provide significant additional capacity at the facility within the port in order to cope with increases in trade up to 2040. The scheme will see a new roll-on/roll-off jetty built to handle ferries of up to 240 metres in length, as well as the redevelopment of an oil berth into a deep-water container berth.

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